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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 February 6 - 12  > Abe in annual convention says nothing about return of ‘four northern islands’
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2019 February 6 - 12 TOP3 [POLITICS]

Abe in annual convention says nothing about return of ‘four northern islands’

February 8, 2019

Prime Minister Abe Shinzo on February 7 delivered a speech at a rally held to demand the return of the Russian-held “northern territories”, but he did not say that he will seek the return of the “four” northern islands.

The rally has been held annually by the organizing committee consisting of the national government and six local organizations.

In last year’s assembly, Abe expressed his intent to solve “the issue of the four northern islands”, but this year he just said that he will work to settle “the territorial issue”. This suggests that Abe is considering taking a major backward step from Japan’s position claiming the right to the four islands of Etorofu, Kunashiri, Habomai, and Shikotan. Apparently, Abe is taking an increasingly weak-kneed attitude toward Russia, which controls and claims the four islands.

On behalf of former islanders, Waki Kimio appeared on the stage to give a speech. Concerning the two Japan-Russia summit meetings held November 2018 and January 2019, he pointed out that although Abe called them fruitful, they did not improve the prospects for the handing back of the islands. He noted that the phrase “the return of the four islands” was used in the annual conventions in the past and asked why it is not mentioned this year, receiving applause from the audience.

At the rally, a summary of political parties’ policies on the “northern territories” issue was distributed to participants.

In its policy statement, the Japanese Communist Party states that the Japanese government should negotiate for the return of Habomai, Shikotan, Etorofu, Kunashiri, and the rest of the Chishima Islands. The party explained that the U.S., U.K., and the former Soviet Union in the Yalta Agreement gave the approval to the Soviet takeover of the Chishima Islands in violation of the internationally accepted principle of territorial non-expansion. This reckless decision was reflected in the San Francisco Peace Treaty. This is the root cause of the territorial issue. The JCP proclaims its stance refuting Russia’s argument that Japan should accept the results of WWII and will continue to work to address the unjust postwar disposition. The JCP expressed its determination to make its utmost efforts to have negotiations on the return of the islands based on historical facts and international law. JCP member of the House of Councilors Kami Tomoko took part in the rally as a guest.

Past related articles:
> Shii grills Abe on false monthly surveys and Japan-Russia territorial talks [February 1, 2019]
> Gov’t must not conclude with Russia a peace pact to have only Habomais and Shikotan returned: Shii [November 16, 2018]

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